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Old 07-19-2009, 02:47 PM   #1
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Default International Flights -- Connecting

So, I know the strict rules that the U.S. has for flights.... what kind of time between a connecting flight should I make sure to have in Europe? I've noticed in general browsing for flights that there is say for example DTW (Detroit) -> AMS (Amsterdam) and then AMS -> Rome with only 55 minutes in Amsterdam to get to the next flight. Typically in the U.S. I like to make sure I have at least an hour and a half between delays getting to the airport, b.s., and any other issues.

I assume customs is necessary, and doubt less than an hour is sufficient to deboard, go through customs, and get to the next flight, but I have seen a plethora of these types of flights and being of little experience figured I'd ask.
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Old 07-19-2009, 04:21 PM   #2
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I'm not very familiar with the Amsterdam airport but generally when I go thru passport control and customs entering the Schengen area, it all moves very quickly. 5 to 10 minutes max depending on the length of the queue. Its very much hello-stamp-baggage claim. I have actually never been stopped by customs in the Schengen zone. Its diff than coming back to the US where everyone speaks to the customs officer even if its just to look at that blue form you fill out.

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Old 07-19-2009, 04:27 PM   #3
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My only real experience was flying into Mexico and it took a good 30-40 minutes mainly cause there were so many people flying in, otherwise, it was quick to get through the actual customs. Even coming back into the U.S. was easy, in Chicago of all places. I just wasn't sure what to expect with airports in Europe
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Old 07-19-2009, 04:41 PM   #4
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Biggest issue IMO would be the possibility that it takes a bit for your bag to come through the carousel (unless they'll check it through, which seems uncommon), and then it's sometimes a hike out to the domestic gates. I would certainly think that there's a good chance that your bag wouldn't make it on the connecting flight.

Lets say you arrive on time to the gate...5-10 mins to get off the plane depending how far back you are, 5-10 mins to get your passport checked, 5-10 mins to get your bag, lets say it takes just 5 mins to exit the customs area and recheck your bag...you could easily be down to 20 mins before departure and you've still got to get to the gate before they give away your seat, plus someone would have to practically take your bag straight to the plane.

I might try it anyway if there are lots of flights on your airline between Amsterdam and Rome. Cause they usually build a bit of extra time into the schedule and you've got a good shot of arriving a little early.
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Old 07-20-2009, 04:31 PM   #5
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55 minutes seems awfully close to me. However, I've never flown through Amsterdam either so I don't know what they're like. I guess it all depends on how lucky you feel.

Are you checking luggage or just carrying on? That would definitely make the decision for me.
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Old 07-20-2009, 04:35 PM   #6
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Well, as with any trip I would prefer to just do carry on, but I am not sure how viable that is.

I'm not going to go through Amsterdam, I was just using it as an example because it happened to be the flight I saw that got me really wondering about it at the time.

Although I am trying to see if I can squeeze a trip to spain in for my 30th birthday in march.
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2015 : US:Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Joshua Tree NP, Salton Sea, Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Mt. Rushmore. 20 states. Europe: Stockholm, Barcelona, Madrid, Prague, Krakow, Warsaw, Ireland (month driving around), Northern Ireland, Edinburgh.

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Old 07-20-2009, 10:49 PM   #7
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All the connecting flights I've been on (where you book a single through ticket) I haven't had to go through customs and immigration and my bag was transferred for me. When I flew home from Calcutta I had a connection in Delhi, the first flight was late and they held the connecting one for me and a few others, and still managed to transfer the baggage as well. I know it's not EU, but gives you some idea of what's possible.

If you have separate tickets and need to re-check-in yourself then 55 minutes is definitely too short, you usually have to check-in 1 hour before the flight departs.
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Old 07-21-2009, 10:26 AM   #8
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Unless you were flying into a country that requires a transit visa, you shouldn't have to go through customs/immigration until your final destination.

But yeah, 55 minutes seems tight-- I'd want at least 1.5 or 2 hours.
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Old 07-21-2009, 02:36 PM   #9
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I too thought 1.5 hours would be better, but it seems I see quite a few flights to Europe that have connections with less than hour in between, and was just curious of anyone's experiences.

Thanks y'all.
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2009-2014: February - Mexico (Cancun x 3, Cozumel x 1, Mazatlan x 2

2014 : Europe: Norway, Denmark, Hungary, Czech Rep, Germany, France, England

2015 : US:Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Joshua Tree NP, Salton Sea, Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Mt. Rushmore. 20 states. Europe: Stockholm, Barcelona, Madrid, Prague, Krakow, Warsaw, Ireland (month driving around), Northern Ireland, Edinburgh.

2017 : Dublin, South Africa, Grand Cayman (planned)

Need a Railpass for that Trip to Europe?
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Old 07-21-2009, 03:49 PM   #10
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Hmm well I guess I haven't transfered much in Europe but I needed a transit visa going through Frankfurt last fall...honestly I have to assume that the airlines mostly know what itineraries to offer. If a short connection consistently means passengers missing them or bags not making it then it just costs them money. So I usually figure they'll only offer you something reasonable.
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Old 07-21-2009, 10:41 PM   #11
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You needed a transit visa going through Germany?? Really?? I thought US nationals just got a regular passport stamp without any other fanfare... it's usually countries that require a regular tourist visa to visit anyway that require a transit visa.
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